affirmation i.
December 29, 2015

affirmation i.

today i woke up and named myself

              goddess of the black river hair

                            & yellow earth skin

blessed my nose’s flat plateau

              no longer wished it brittle straight

held my flat tits holy

              refused to call them absence

thanked my unshapely hips

              for the mountain’s work of grounding me

                            and what a miracle
                            this body has survived all my wishing
                            to transform it away
                                          to make it alabaster and hourglass
                            to live some other body’s task

this year
i have let men name me
worthless with their silence

i have made myself dust and locked mouth
in the name of finding intimacy

i have blamed my body
for driving away anyone i’ve wanted to love

but let today be the day
i name myself worthy

let today be the day
i make myself sacred

i will still wish he stayed
still regret leaving myself at his feet
a bird gutted of song

but today he is not here,
and i am fine
dancing in the flight of my own lyric

i am twenty-three and have never fallen in love,
but i know what it is to love myself

and is that not a victory
is that not worth church bells
table laden with whole fish and cow’s ribs
              over mama’s best china

              to call myself beautiful names
                            and wait for no one else to do it for me


Photo courtesy of Jade Cho.

Jade Cho is a writer, educator, and granddaughter of Toisanese immigrants. Her first poetry collection, In the Tongue of Ghosts, is forthcoming with Youth Speaks’ First Word Press. For more, see

















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